Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chicken Liver Pate

Okay, so this to some may seem to be a, shall I say, "refined" choice - but when your kid is anemic (iron-deficient) this is the best way to provide large amounts of bio-available iron quickly and deliciously - really! I promise even you will like it (your spouse is another story ... )

1 pound free-range organic chicken livers (thawed completely if frozen)
1 cup animal milk, or 2 tablespoons any plain yogurt mixed with 1 cup water
1/4 cup pure olive oil
1/4 cup butter of choice, or soy-free vegan Earth Balance
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons (1 clove) garlic, minced
1 teaspoon mixed peppercorns, or 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground dried sage, or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon fresh marjoram, or 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup brandy of choice, or cognac, or sweet sherry
  1. Pour chicken livers into mesh colander in sink; rinse well with cold water; drain.
  2. Trim livers - using a kitchen shears or a very sharp knife, remove all yellow or white matter and any tough stuff.
  3. Pour milk of choice (or mix 2 tablespoons yogurt of choice and 1 cup water) into a glass bowl; add livers; cover with plastic; set aside for 2 hours (refrigerate).
  4. After 2 hours, pour livers into a colander and rinse well; drain; set aside.
  5. Dice onion and garlic; gather peppercorns, bay leaves, sage, sea salt, and sherry.
  6. Place large skillet (not aluminum) over medium heat; add chopped onion and saute 3 minutes (do not brown); add minced garlic; saute 30 seconds; add livers, peppercorns, bay leaves, sage, and sea salt; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add sherry, stir to encourage alcohol evaporation; saute 2 minutes.
  8. Remove pan from heat; scoop contents onto a rimmed plate or baking dish; set aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
  9. Remove bay leaves and discard; scoop everything from baking dish into food processor and puree until smooth.
  10. Add 1/4 cup butter of choice (or soy-free Earth Balance) to food processor; pulse to combine.
  11. Using butter of choice or Earth Balance, grease four 4-ounce ramekins or 16 ounce equivalent container (long and flat is better than tall and deep); scoop pate into prepared container and fit on lid - fill to almost overflowing so lid makes direct contact with pate, or cover tightly with plastic wrap, gently pressing wrap down so it sits directly on the surface of the pate; place in refrigerator to solidify and cure for 6 hours prior to serving.
  12. Once cured, turn pate out onto serving plate and garnish, if desired with fresh parsley and dill sprigs. Serve alongside fresh-sliced bread strips or crackers of choice.
Store in refrigerator up to 3 days, or wrap tightly and freeze up to 2 months - thaw in refrigerator.

Servings: 4 (4-ounce servings, 16-ounces total)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: about 15 minutes
Cooling time: 6 hours

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